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OSCE Secretary General visit to Georgia was overshadowed by an incident2008-12-12 12:42
The working visit of Marc Perrin de Brichambaut has been in a long preparation. He must meet Mikheil Saakashvili, several ministers and people's defender Sozar Subari and go to see war-affected Gori district.
Now the OSCE leader has to deal with an incident in Khviti that he has already called an act of violence.
The first to report on the incident was Georgia's Foreign Ministry. According to its report "on December 10 at 17:00 local time the OSCE observers' armored car patrolling Khviti village surroundings came under fire from Tskhinval district territory under South Ossetia's control."
Gori district police officials that went to the village informed the journalists that around 10 bullets had hit the car. Five of them - right in the wind shield that however was not broken but needs to be replaced. No casualties are reported.
By evening main Georgia TV channels featured the incident in their programs. A bit later PACE representatives confirmed the fact. The Head of the Mission, Finnish diplomat Terhi Hakala who was not inside the car condemned the attack on unarmed monitoring officers calling it a "sad and miserable fact."
"This is a very bad sign that the security situation in the region is very unfavorable, - she told the journalists. - Whoever was an initiator of the assault it is a piteous fact that such incidents take place near the administrative border and moreover that the unarmed observers are attacked. It was an elaborate assault in broad daylight and the shooters knew very well whom they were attacking".
The Head of the OSCE Mission also stated that Europe's parliamentary assembly was going to investigate the incident. She was supported by the Secretary General that had arrived in Georgia.
"The OSCE missionaries have already expressed their opinion on the incident. We will work hard to find out its reasons", - Brichambaut stated.
Deputy Defense Minister of South Ossetia Ibrahim Gassaev assured his republic had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.
"Georgian village Khviti where according to the information from Georgia the incident took place is a kilometer and half away from the border with South Ossetia, - he said. - Aimed fire range even for the best types of small arms is not above 800 m".